Strength for the Hard Days
We are in the throes of missing our college boy around here. He plans on coming home for his birthday. Last night my husband looked at the calendar and said, “Three more weeks?! That’s so long!”
This is typically the time when the parents of the newly-flown struggle. Their kids are settling into their new environment. They don’t call and only text if they want money! They may not answer our calls or texts. (Which does nothing for our overactive anxiety.) And if your child is in boot camp, you may not even be allowed to call!
Even now, the second time around, when I know the first semester is the hardest, I tend to act a little — ridiculous. I texted my son the other day “Don’t you even miss home?!”
He was sweet. He responded “I miss y’all.” In other words, I may occasionally think of you, but I’m really not homesick. Which is good, right? We don’t want him to be sad. Like us…
Shh, don’t tell him, but I watch his movements on campus through my phone’s Find my Friends. Not out of fear for him, because he is very responsible (more than me, if I’m honest!), but just out of curiosity. What is he up to? Where is he hanging out? Is he getting out of his place? Which, in this crazy year of 2020, is a pertinent question.
He’s usually at the gym, at his apartment, or at a fast food establishment. Those are their only options, unfortunately. He only has one face-to-face class this year. The rest are online. Sigh…
The second semester is better for them, also, if they have been homesick.
That is the toughest part – watching your baby be sad. My first son came home more often, and I have a feeling he was lonely (He wouldn’t admit it, though). It’s hard to encourage them to stay through the first year. You want to fix it for them. That’s what we do, right?
Unless there’s an issue of true depression, tell them to take it one day at a time. Tell them to do one thing each day to reach out to others. If there is a big roommate issue, tell them to attempt to change it. They won’t be the only ones who want to shuffle.
As for ourselves, it is time. Time to reach out and make new friends, other than the old “Friday night lights” gang in the high school bleachers or PTA friends, or whatever friends-made-because-our-kids-are-friends. Start a hobby, join a book club or tennis group, enroll in classes (they may be online now, but not forever). Reach out to old friends. Or make the acquaintance of that neighbor you only ever wave at – they may turn out to be a friend! If you’ve gotten out of the habit of church – start going again. They have many options for small group gatherings with people of your faith and convictions.
A friend of mine – bless her! – bravely invited several of us previous senior moms to start an “alumni parents” group. Oh, I’m sure the first meeting may have tears and reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” when our children were our life – but we also plan to move beyond that – maybe have speakers, learn new things, and go on outings (when we can get out!).
Be brave. Make the first step. There are so many lonely moms and dads of new adults out there, seeking out new friendships. You can do it!